Rooks Misfiring again — against Roaring Bishops!
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Rooks Misfiring again — against Roaring Bishops!

RoaringPawn
RoaringPawn
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What is the secret of taming such formidable chessmen as Rooks? Two roaring bishops proved stronger than two quiet and underachieving enemy rooks in a 2001 Georgia Open game where White mated in twenty-something moves

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ARE ROOKS OVERRATED? Part 2

I have moved recently. As I was packing up, I came across some old scoresheets of twenty years ago when we still, uhm — played OTB!

Here is a game from back then in which I played Jim Mundy @Morphy71, now a Candidate Master. He is a chess coach and the owner of Passport Chess from Alpharetta, a suburb city north from Atlanta (his peak regular USCF rating 2142). [there was another interesting BDG I played in the same tourney and misfired myself — everybody gets their portion of failure in chess and life. I lost to Dr Orlando Cano and I am going to show you the game next time. Yes, his rooks underachieved, again, but I dismally failed to finish off]

Yes, sometimes Tower is underrated, not showing its true Power; yet Flower Power doesn't help in chess

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THE SECRET OF FAST IMPROVEMENT IN CHESS

Each and every one of us is very concerned with the important question of how best to improve in the game. The gain in your rating and the rate at which it is happening are main indicators of your progress and how fast you improve. Now, I am preparing you for what is coming, you may not believe this. When Mundy and I played the game in November of 2001, I was seeing an increase of 1700 (seventeen hundred!) USCF points over a period of only 6 (six) months! I know it is hard for you chess folks to believe it, but it is factual. You can verify on the US Chess Federation site (my ID is 12839163).

You might be wondering what was the secret of such an immense and enviable progress in just half a year? And you might be interested in what kind of improvement method I used?

Am I going to reveal my secret to you, chess folks? Of course.

At the beginning of the May-Nov 2001 period my rating was zero. Yes. Zilch. Nada I started from scratch as I had never been a rated player before! Now you see that the 1700-point gain in rating was not fictional but factual. In the table below you see that 21 games had earned me 1700 points. 

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Now stats and ratings points aside, back to chess. Back to the Roaring-Mundy game. It is very instructive from the point of view of pawn play and how it is affecting piece (in)activity (it is something I have been covering in the Pawns Adventures sequel). The following game can help you brush up the knowledge of how and when to use pawn levers, as well as to get you acquainted with pawn duos and phalanxes (two pawn formations that are coming up next in Pawns Adventures soon).

As already suggested in the beginning, the game can be also looked at as another fine example of what IM Daniel Gurevich was talking about in the Are Rooks Overrated? post. You can see how two bishops were stronger than two Black's rooks that had never achieved full operational efficiency as the pawn formation have never let them to. The value of pieces is varying constantly and is primarily the function of evolving pawn structure. In positions with no open lines rooks may seem pretty awkward and desperate creatures.

So it may turn out that you really have progressed when you start realizing what true values of your men on the board are. Once you start intuitively sensing whether your rook, or bishop, or knight, or pawn is underrated, or — blowing their trumpet!


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These two rooks are Not underrated, of course. They are currently pursuing the poor King who is on the way to his execution on the 8th... 

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Here is the Roaring-Mundy game. I turn your attention to the fact:

Even though Black's rooks have been "properly" positioned on d8 and e8, they really never used their power effectively against any targets.

Funny enough, even my rooks have behaved pretty lazy. The KR went to f2 and stayed there till the end of the game, only scaring off Black from castling K-side. The QR had only one active move during the entire game (22.Ra1-c1) that was purposeful by helping the mating attack! 

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Next time you are going to see another sharp Blackmar-Diemer in the Roaring-Dr Cano (1972 USCF) game. Here is position after Black's 16th move. Compare the activity of opposing armies. Compare the rooks. What value would you assign to each pair of rooks? 5 + 5 = 10? Really?

The engines are evaluating position +5. Alas, I made to lose it! Like I said before, every one of us gets their portion of failure in chess. Luckily, it seems the best way to learn something!

See you next time...

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Pawel Kuczynski Sand castleOftentimes, rooks are like castles in the sand, Pawel Kuczynski of Poland

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